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coach jonathan paddling the 2024 starboard all star

Paddling Slow and Fluid is an Overlooked Asset

This past week, I spent some time in Cape Cod enjoying the coastal waters and the diverse conditions they offer. As I’ve said before, this is the season I am setting goals for myself to become a more accomplished board rider, so my work and play on the water has specific benchmarks I hope to achieve.

Going faster is cool, sexy, and wins more races, but are we missing out with just this focus alone? Challenging waters from fellow paddlers, wind chop, swells, tidal changes, currents, and boat wakes make for a fun and interesting playground. As soon as a person gets tense and over fires the nervous system and muscles, the ability to balance and move freely gets stymied. So we must ask ourselves, is paddling slow and fluid an overlooked asset? Walk yourself through the 7 points below both on and off water and assess how your daily training takes this information into account.

coach jonathan paddling the 2024 starboard all star

1.) Purposefully paddle at a lower speed and see what little effort you can use. Make sure you are still in a high level athletic stance and trying to squeeze out every ounce of glide without any breaks.

2.) Start to chart heart rate correlations at different MPH and see how you can become more efficient.

3.) Purposefully find varying degrees of rough water to practice in while maintaining composure and forward movement. This will take a focused effort to control breathing and not stiffen up.

4.) Pick a visual marker in the distance and don't take your eyes off it while trying to maintain a comfortable speed, no matter how difficult the waters are.

5.) The vestibular system (Inner Ear Region) has an amazing way of helping and/or hindering movements. This sensory system effects balance and proprioception! This all comes down to being cognizant of your head and neck angle and alignment.

6.) How quickly can you speed up your hands and arms while paddling slowly and deliberately?

7.) Once you have developed an average speed and a maximum speed, create a ladder of say 2-3-4 mph and take notes on technique, how you feel, what works, and what needs to be changed, if anything.

coach jonathan paddling the 2024 starboard all star
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